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The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America | [Michael Ruhlman]

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

Ruhlman propels himself and his readers through a score of kitchens and classrooms, from Asian and American regional cuisines to lunch cookery and even table waiting, in search of the elusive, unnamable elements of great cooking.
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Publisher's Summary

In the ultimate food-lover's fantasy, journalist Michael Ruhlman dons chef's jacket and houndstooth-check pants to join the students in Skills One at the Culinary Institute of America, the most influential cooking school in the country. His goal is to document the training of America's chefs from the first classroom to the Culinary's final kitchen, the American Bounty Restaurant. The result becomes more than a rote reportage of a school for cooks. Ruhlman learns to cook as though his future depends upon it, and this complete immersion enables him to create the most vivid and energetic memoir of a culinary education on record.

©1997 by Michael Ruhlman; (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks

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  •  
    Ken Charlotte, NC, USA 02-15-06
    Ken Charlotte, NC, USA 02-15-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    Overall
    "Brown Sauce"

    Interesting insight into the making of a cook and chef (they aren't the same, I learned). A bit long winded at times, but worth the time.

    Audio quality is pretty dismal in places. Whoever they've got splicing these tapes together really did a crummy job. Nothing is missing, but it is annoying. A less forgiving person would have tried to get his credit back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Kendall Park, NJ, USA 01-09-06
    Susan Kendall Park, NJ, USA 01-09-06 Member Since 2014
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    "wonderful"

    This was one of the most enjoyable books I have heard in awhile. I stayed up all night to listen to the entire thing- almost 12 hours! I couldn't put it down.

    It was so interesting to learn about the CIA and so interesting to learn about food in general. And the author can write!

    Just don't listen to this if you are hungry.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Alameda, CA, USA 05-13-04
    Eric Alameda, CA, USA 05-13-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Interesting topic, but poorly written and read"

    One would think this book would be more interesting. The world of the student chef is complex and intricate, with many idiosyncrasies to discover and, if you're something of epicure as I am, splendid details to relish as they are revealed and described in eye-witness precision. Unfortunately, this book is simply a collection of journal notes and linear entires, without a clear sense of progression or arc of narrative. It has all the energy of an Audio Blog. I never knew where this "story" was going to end and could have finished after almost any chapter. More annoying is the pedantic and stilted voice of Riggenbach, the reader. I would have hoped this reader would have better researched his subject matter, but too many mispronunciations (like "no-chee" for gnocchi and "coo-liss" for coulis) undermine the attention to detail which Ruhlman gives to this culinary setting. Early in the book, Ruhlman sets up cookery as something of philosophical observation for life and finding one's way in the world. He just doesn't pay it off. I finished unsatisfied and hungry for more.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 07-31-11
    David 07-31-11 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "A dry journey through the culinary world"

    I am not a "foodie" and I'm a lousy cook, but I love cooking shows, the Food Channel, and interesting books about food and cooking. This is not an interesting book about food and cooking.

    Ruhlman is a writer who went to chef school (at the Culinary Institute of America, America's premiere cooking school) to write about it, but one of his teachers told him he wasn't a real chef. This pissed Ruhlman off, so he decided to prove he could become a real chef, and he went through the whole program with as much determination as any of the other students.

    This could be an interesting saga, especially written by a professional writer, but instead it reads like the journal of a cooking school student. He tells us about his classes, his teachers, his services, now and then rambles a bit about brown sauce or tells us something about one of his fellow students, and just keeps going like that all the way to the end. There are no interesting facts or surprising revelations about food or cooking school, just a very dry, matter-of-fact account of the industry. Ruhlman's writing is journalistic and without personality.

    I suppose if you're thinking about going to cooking school, this is a good book to get a taste of what it's like. But compared to, for example, Trevor Corson's The Story of Sushi or one of Anthony Bourdain's books, this book was just dull.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Holland, PA, USA 08-24-09
    Kenneth Holland, PA, USA 08-24-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just okay..."

    This book could have been even better had the author cut half of it out. The book seems solely made for individuals in the restaurant biz, which I am. But I found it a little too textbook at times.

    The narrator is not as terrible as others have mentioned. He is dry and offers no different character voices, but he reads it well.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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